What’s better than a woman-owned independent design business thriving through hard work and good connections? It’s when that same business being run by a mother-daughter duo. Erin Martier, founder of Oread Kitchen and Bath Design, began her own business endeavors in 2002 after working in kitchen design for nine years. With that hands-on experience and a business degree in tow, she began Oread Design on a $10,000 business loan and her many good connections she had made over the years. Attaining her business through word of mouth, she opened her first showroom in Leechburg, PA and began working on projects, doing all of the work herself. “If you need help, ask for it. I can’t handle all this work, [I] need to delegate. I couldn’t do it without [Sydney],” Erin explains when asked what she’s learned over the years.
Sydney Martier, Erin’s daughter, joined Oread Design last year, spending the first few months shadowing her mother to learn the ways of the company. Sydney has a degree in Architecture from University of California, Berkeley, and assists her mom on the structural aspect of kitchen design as well as materials and patterns. “My mom has always done this since I was little, so it only felt right to keep it going and not let it stop with her,” Sydney explained when asked why she pursued this avenue. It was made clear that they are very much partners in the process, holding each other accountable and bouncing opinions off one another, rather than hierarchical positions.
Though Oread Design describes their offerings as Custom, Traditional, and Ultra Modern, the two ladies have a naturally modern style, both in their appearance and décor options. When I entered Erin’s home in the North Side of Pittsburgh, I expected no less than what I saw: beautiful, clean, and modern materials, furniture, and styles, focusing heavily on light woods, marble accents, and slate colors. Erin’s personal kitchen is one she designed, and is sleek and monochromatic in the most sophisticated way, with practical design choices made for the avid cooking enthusiast in mind. Erin had a simple answer to exclaim when asked why she chose kitchens to focus in: “I love to cook!”
It’s with that personal love for a good kitchen and workspace that brings about a personal experience when working with Erin. She strives to make every job, every connection very personal, doing what she can to give the client exactly what they want. “A designer has said ‘You have two ears, two eyes, and one mouth, and you should use them in that order.’ Don’t talk so much, just listen and look. So we try to pay attention to what our clients want, and we try to do it,” Erin said. In fact, her favorite project she has ever done was actually one where the client was just as personal and hospitable in return. When doing a home on Cedar Avenue in the North Side, Erin mentioned that the homeowner would have a party every Friday and cook for the crew working on the kitchen. It was that care for her crew as well as the homeowner’s personal style, which made for a fun challenge for Erin that made this project one to remember.
Home and business owners will have a new way to reach Erin and Sydney come autumn of 2018. Around September of this year, Oread Design will be opening a brand new showroom on Madison Avenue in the North Side, near most notably where Jeremy Rayner recently painted a mural of Roberto Clemente. This new location will be prime to catch the eyes of passing commuters stuck in traffic merging onto I-279 North during rush hour, piquing interest in the understated storefront they ladies have planned. The interior of this showroom is being designed by Sydney and will feature the modern and practical design style in which they both specialize.
For any person looking to update his or her kitchen or bathroom, he or she need not look any further than Oread Design. Erin and Sydney are sure to provide an exceptional one-on-one experience focused on making the dreams of their clients come to life and changing what is considered the typical Pittsburgh home for the better. Stop into their showroom this fall, check out previous projects on their website, and follow their Instagram @oread.design.
Photos by Chance Humphrey, Shauna Miller, and Nicolette Kalafatis.